The future of Sandstone Montessori Charter School, a free public school, may be determined in the next couple weeks. The school is currently enrolling students with a cut off date of July 19th. At its last board meeting, the school made the decision not to negotiate a lease with the building owner at 214 Eagle Drive, the former Sandstone High School at the south end of Sandstone. A new location is being sought for the 2017-18 school year.
Carolyn Tuckner, Sandstone Montessori board chair, stated, “Enrollment efforts have been affected by continual concerns expressed by community members regarding the environmental history of the building (on Eagle Drive), as well as its present condition of being incomplete and neglected.” She added that the school is looking for property accommodating two to three classrooms, office space and outdoor area.
The school currently has 24 students enrolled with a minimum goal of 50 students. The state has approved grades kindergarten through five for its opening year.
“We have completed many of the tasks from the School Readiness Checklist,” said Tuckner. “The tasks on the list which are incomplete are very doable within the time frame remaining, with the exception of enrollment.”
Tuckner stated that in the tradition of Montessori schools, a grassroots effort is underway to get the school up and running and that enrollment is the stumbling block right now. “If our community truly desires Montessori education as an option for our children, residents of Sandstone, and the surrounding communities (Hinckley, Willow River, Moose Lake and Pine City, Askov and Bruno) need to make it happen,” said Tuckner. “We are planning to forge ahead full tilt and hopefully goodness will prevail.”
Montessori provides multi-age classrooms with each child working at his/her own pace rather than the traditional term grade levels. Tuckner said that they will continue to promote the development of community with Family Game Nights which are open to any and all families in addition to the families of enrolled children. Family Nights offer a meal for families in the community (a "reservation" via Facebook is requested to know how many to cook for). The school also has a craft table on Wednesday evenings at Art in the Park in Sandstone.
The Montessori school will be holding open houses on Wednesday, June 28 from 3:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. and Thursday, June 29 from 3:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. on the lower level of Grace Lutheran Church, 339 Division St., Sandstone. During the open houses, prospective families can tour the model classroom, see the Montessori materials, and meet the staff.
For additional information, call Alyssa Dykstra, Elementary Teacher and Director of Outreach at 320-216-1327. For further information, see website: sandstonemontessori.org.